Contest-Winning Poems

By Raehana Anwar

On March 29, the winners for the 2018 Sybil Nash Abrams Student Contest were revealed by the Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas. Out of the six winners, four are from Mount’s very own Creative Writing class. The four students submitted handwritten poems from class and ranked from 2nd place to 2nd honorable mention.

The Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas (PRA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the study of poetry. The PRA was created to encourage poets and promote an appreciation of poetry in the community, and secure more recognition for the works of poets in Arkansas. This organization offers monthly contests, one of which all the students in Mount’s Creative Writing class submitted poems for, along with students from six other schools. This added up to a total of 23  high school student entries, with only six prizes given.

The winners from Mount include Raehana Anwar in 2nd place, Stephanie Verdaris in 3rd, Hannah Brockette with 1st honorable mention, and Grace Cassie with 2nd honorable mention. 2nd place receives a $30 cash prize, 3rd receives $20, and honorable mentions are awarded books. Along with collecting their prize, each winner is invited to attend the Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas Dr. Lily Peter Spring Celebration and is given the opportunity to present their winning poem.  The winning pieces are listed below in order of their award.


Raehana Anwar

i am six,

with a head of hair,

free of curls,

falling to my hips.

teacher tells me i hold my pencil wrong,

but i write neater than any other first grader i know.

one day mom was crying,

and i knew my baby brother would be here soon.

i wore my best dress: blue flowers painted onto pale white.

i had to make the best of impressions for the new face.

i don’t understand the red, yellow, green lights on the streets,

how they change from color to color.

i think there are small people inside of them,

pushing buttons for hours and hours.

i would hate to have that job.

i hear a soft sound echo from the radio.

mom tells me the soft sound is called a flute.

i want to make the sound.

dad always counts his money.

he takes us to diners and days on the beach,

but it makes him sad.

his business is dying.

but he doesn’t think i know that yet,

because i’m only six.

Texas and Arkansas

Stephanie Verdaris


It wasn’t always “Texas and Arkansas”
Used to be just one state,
But then you had to leave.
Intense games of tag, lots of fun, and many playdates,
But then you went to Texas and we had to set each other free.
And then as we got older, our paths crossed once again
And we immediately remembered why we’d been such good friends.
Your positive outlook, hilarious sense of humor, and loving heart
Made me realize I should’ve kept better contact with you from the start.
But now you’re still in Texas and I am still in Arkansas
But we’re back to being inseparable.
Annual visits, facetimes, sweet texts,
And lots and lots of “I can’t wait till I see you next.”
You have shown me what a true best friend is like
And that no matter what, you’ll always be a part of my life.
Maybe you’ll always be in Texas. And maybe I’ll always be in Arkansas.
But no matter where we go, you will always be in my heart.

Lake Days

Hannah Brockette

Hot summer days
Spent at the lake.
Floating on a raft,
Tubing in circles.
Water splashes in my face.
Fast strokes against my arms,
As I race my friends.
The boat bounces up and down
As it hits wave after wave.
It pulls up on shore
Scraping the gravel.
Now I’m back at camp
Sitting around the campfire.
Listening to stories and gossip
All night long.
I get in my bed.
I lay still as a stick.
But my body still moves like a fish

Love Letter

Grace Cassie

It’s hilarious how someone can go from being your best friend
To a stranger
In a matter of seconds.

I remember lying next to you under shimmery, yellow lights,
Hoping that this moment could last an eternity,
As you wrapped me up in your warm arms,
Protecting me from the cold world around us.

I remember late nights eating dinner with your family
And losing at every card game placed in front of me.

I remember the moments when calling you could stop
The flood of tears from overcoming my life
And you calling me to listen to every moment of my day.

But, people change.

You went from a carefree boy to a politician,
Always concerned about what others thought
And, in return, trying to win over every single person you met.

You went from my undying protector
To my inevitable downfall.
But most of all,
you went from my best friend
To someone I don’t even know,
And, because of that,

I will sadly always remember you.

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